The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) National Security Agency (NSA) has authorised ViaSat‘s AN/PRC-161 handheld Link 16 radio for use by the international military forces.

With the authorisation, the new Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System – Dismounted (BATS-D) device will be used by Five Eyes (FVEY) partners and coalition militaries.

The AN/PRC-161 BATS-D radio offers real-time fused air / ground situational awareness to coordinate and direct forces instantly using machine-to-machine interface. This helps reduce the major gap between the air and ground forces.

Viasat Government Systems president Ken Peterman said: “Viasat has a deep and enduring commitment to working with allies and coalition partners to improve warfighter safety by enhancing mission effectiveness and communications.

“The AN/PRC-161 BATS-D handheld radio has been designed to provide full Link 16 network access to FVEY special operations and expeditionary forces.”

“Viasat’s AN/PRC-161 BATS-D is the world’s first and only handheld Link 16 radio. It is designed to solve the military’s urgent need for a small, secure Link 16 device capable of being employed by a dismounted operator that can seamlessly interoperate between air and ground forces.

“With NSA authorisation we can speed the time to market for how US, FVEY and coalition militaries securely communicate and deter threats on the battlefield.”

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The Link 16 terminal provides troops at the tactical edge with secure and reliable access to integrated air and ground information. This helps to ensure enhanced situational awareness capabilities and improved close air support communications.

This enables troops to rapidly engage enemy targets and minimise the risk of fratricide incidents.

The AN/PRC-161 BATS-D handheld radio has been designed to provide full Link 16 network access to FVEY special operations and expeditionary forces.

Different security innovations and upgrades to the radio, including Type 1 encryption, facilitate seamless interoperability with a number of other Link 16 radios.

In December, the BATS-D device achieved Type 1 certification from the US NSA.